Merry and bright

Dani was de­ter­mined to get the Christ­mas lights up. But a power out­age in­ter­rupted her long enough to have chicken soup with her hand­some neigh­bor . . .

Woman's World - - Have Fun With -

Dani dragged the steplad­der in front of the garage to hang the strings of Christ­mas lights she’d found in the base­ment that morn­ing. She planned to do any­thing that needed do­ing her­self, with the help of the In­ter­net. She’d ex­pected to be liv­ing here with Ben, but their en­gage­ment hadn’t sur­vived the wed­ding plan­ning. In­stead of wed­ding vows, she’d made a vow to her­self not to wait for hap­pi­ness but to find joy in every day.

As she at­tached the lights, she ran through her plans for Christ­mas din­ner. With her par­ents and her brother’s fam­ily, there’d be six at her large new table.

cling­ing to his dark curls

She was con­cen­trat­ing so much, she didn’t no­tice it had started snow­ing. She stepped care­fully down from the lad­der. As she con­nected the last light string to the ex­ten­sion cord, a car pulled into Mrs. Black’s drive­way next door.

A young man got out and waved, then headed to­ward her. “Do you need a hand?”

“I’ve just fin­ished, but thanks.”

He reached her side, and she no­ticed snowflakes cling­ing to the dark curls that had es­caped from his hat. A hand-knit­ted Christ­mas hat with a pom­pom, ex­actly like the one she was wear­ing.

“I’m Rick Black, and I see from your hat that you’ve al­ready met my mother.”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m Dani.”

“Looks like you’re ready to light things.”

She plugged the ex­ten­sion cord into the out­let, and the lights shone brightly. Then, sec­onds later, they

Crossword puz­zle so­lu­tion

It­was just be­fore Christ­mas, and I was at the op­ti­cian’s pick­ing out new frames for the hol­i­days when a young woman came over to the clerk help­ing me. “Would you ex­cuse me just a mo­ment?” the clerk said, step­ping away to help the young woman. When the clerk re­turned, I asked if ev­ery­thing was okay. Nod­ding, she ex­plained, “That girl comes in every Satur­day to put five dollars to­ward her glasses. She still has a bal­ance of about $35 to go.” My heart ached for that young woman, who was barely more than a teenager. And it was the hol­i­days . . . So, reach­ing into my purse, I handed the clerk $35. “Next time she comes in, please tell her that Mrs. Santa was here,” I said—then smiled the whole way home!

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